Tag Archives: Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Week 7 Primetime Moneymakers: Mack/Donalds

Don’t look now, but we are on course to have all our regularly scheduled games played at the time they were initially scheduled! It’s the small victories people. We even get the luxury of Thursday Night Football. Hopefully, you read the sarcasm dripping from the word “luxury” because the matchup is another letdown; the New York Giants (1-5) take on the Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1). Despite their putrid records, this game will have first-place implications for the NFC East.

Another 1-2 week brings us to 2-4 on the season. No, it’s not ideal, but that’s the process and we have notched a win each week. As usual, there is still more money to be made. If anyone is going to win it, it might as well be us, right?

**Just when we thought we were safe from games being rescheduled, for at least a week anyway, the NFL has flexed the Seattle Seahawks visiting the Arizona Cardinals to Sunday night in place of Bucs-Raiders due to Las Vegas having its entire starting offensive line and safety Johnathan Abram on COVID watch**

Primetime Moneymakers Week 7

New York Giants (1-5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1)

Spread: Eagles -4.5

O/U: 45

This would typically be one to avoid. With so many injuries for both teams, it’s challenging getting a bead on how this one will go. New York is 3-3 ATS, but all three of their wins have come on the road and two have come in the last three weeks. The Giants offense is putrid, ranking 32nd in DVOA, per Football Outsiders, and 27th or worse in passing yards per game, rushing yards per game, in points per game. But their defense is…better. They rank 17th in DVOA (23rd in pass defense, 15th in rush defense).

Philadelphia (2-4) can’t catch a break. Okay, bad choice of words. But just as the Iggles look to get DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery back they lose Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders for multiple weeks. How healthy will Jackson and Jeffery (a longshot) be in their respective returns? Already without Dallas Goedert, will Richard Rodgers be able to step up? Or will it be the Travis Fulgham show for another week?

Both of these teams are bad and injured and are only on in primetime because everyone must get a shot. Philly’s defense is porous, but the Giants offense is inept. So the question is can the Giants defense keep this one close. They managed to hold the Rams offense to 17 points on the road a couple of weeks ago before struggling against the Cowboys and Football Team. Leave the spread alone and take the Eagles straight up and the under (44.5) in what could be a very ugly watch. They should win handily and hopefully (and mercifully) will get this one over quickly.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2)  @ Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)

Spread: Raiders +3.5

O/U: 52

Last we saw of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers they were putting the screws to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to the tune of 38-straight points and a 28-point lead. It was Tampa’s (3-3 ATS) largest margin of victory of the season and came against what was supposed to be their stiffest challenge. Tampa is first in overall and defensive DVOA and is seventh in offensive DVOA. Not an easy task, though both of their losses came on the road.

If there’s one team with reason not to fear the Bucs it’s Las Vegas (3-2 ATS). After all, they have already taken out the Saints and beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead before their bye. Those are two impressive notches for a team no one is talking about. Derek Carr is having a career year. He commands the sixth-ranked offense in DVOA, is leading the league with a career-best 73.1 completion percentage, and is throwing more touchdowns to fewer interceptions than he ever has. His defense is among the worst in the league so he will have to keep it up to keep up the Raiders winning ways.

The spread (-4) wants you to remember and believe the Raiders two big wins instead of the Bucs thrashing of Green Bay. But Tampa’s defense is better than the Saints or Chiefs and does a good job of limiting big plays over the top; a key in Vegas’ win over KC. Only two of the Bucs opponents have matched the Raiders implied total of 24 points. And against the Patriots and Broncos, two defense close to the Bucs, the most Vegas could muster was 23 points. Take the Bucs, minus the points, and the under as they match up perfectly with what the Raiders want to do.

Seattle Seahawks (5-0) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-2)

Spread: Cardinals +3.5

O/U: 56

The Seahawks (4-1 ATS) are the sole remaining undefeated team in the NFL. Russell Wilson is the odds-on favorite to win MVP, the first of his career. Following the #LetRussCook motto, Seattle’s gunslinger leads the NFL in touchdown passes, yards per attempt, and passer rating. The Seahawks are fifth in total DVOA. That’s due to their offense ranking first because their defense is 26th. Letting Russ cook has seemingly been more out of necessity than choice.

Two weeks in a row in primetime for the Cardinals (4-2 ATS)? That’s what the first 4-2 start since 2015 gets you. Obviously this has everything to do with the Raiders COVID issues, but don’t sleep on Kyler Murray’s Cardinals. What we saw from this offense (12th in DVOA) against the Cowboys last Monday could happen again against the porous Seattle secondary. Murray, a preseason favorite for MVP, has had an uneven 2020, throwing six interceptions. But he threw three of those in one (awful) game but he has also thrown 10 touchdown passes and has run for another.

Arizona won the last matchup between these two teams back in December last season. Before that though, Seattle won three straight. Wilson is absolutely dealing right now and, while Murray’s Cardinals had big plays against the Cowboys, he was just 9/24 passing on the night. The Seahawks only win by fewer than five points came last week against a desperate Minnesota Vikings squad. Arizona’s losses both came against the best offenses they’ve faced. Take Seattle minus the points and the over as this could be a fun watch on Sunday night.

Chicago Bears (5-1) @ Los Angeles Rams (4-2)

Spread: Rams -6

O/U: 45

These two teams are meeting in primetime for the third time in as many seasons. The Chicago Bears (4-2 ATS) are riding high on a two-game win streak and sitting in first place in the NFC North. Very much on-brand, it has been the defense (fifth in DVOA) doing the heavy lifting. Khalil Mack and Akiem Hick are dominant as ever and Kyle Fuller has locked down the perimeter along with Jaylon Johnson. Can Nick Foles survive a Rams defense that features the NFL sack-leader, Aaron Donald?

Jared Goff has enjoyed a bounceback season and has the Rams (3-3) looking like a contender once again. They’re fifth in offensive DVOA and the offensive line has only allowed seven sacks, tied for second in the league. Goff has his full-compliment of weapons with Cooper Kupp back after tearing his ACL last season. And he has the luxury of three talented running backs to hand the ball off to. He has one of the highest yards per attempt averages which could be problematic against Mack and Co.

Neither of the previous two matchups between Sean McVay’s Rams and Matt Nagy’s Bears have topped 24 points. So the 45-point total might be a little optimistic. The Bears offense isn’t reliable and their defense should be able to limit the Rams. The spread (Rams -6) says Vegas thinks that won’t be the case. After what we saw against the bruised and beaten 49ers, you have to understand our skepticism. Even if this is in-line with the margin of victory from before. The Bears don’t look scary offensively. But the Rams, outside of Donald, don’t either. Take Chicago plus the points and ride the under.

All lines and other betting information courtesy of Covers.com

Bears’ Season Over, Journey Just Beginning

Bears Season Ends on Sour Note

Be You

If you listen closely, you can probably still hear the reverberations of the goal post at Soldier Field. After Cody Parkey’s 43-yard potential game-winning kick hit both the upright and the crossbar, that goal post might not even exist anymore. Sure, the kick was tipped. That does little to numb the pain of eight years of missing the playoffs, only to have your season ended in that fashion. Now, the Chicago Bears have to do some soul searching. Despite the success this year, the loss exposed several issues.

All year long Head Coach Matt Nagy has lived by the motto “be you”. Sunday, though, he may have shown that he is who we thought he was. Flashback to the 2017 AFC Wild Card game, and you see a Kansas City Chiefs offense looking suspiciously like the Bears did Sunday night. Chicago looked stagnant and boring for three and a half quarters. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was off kilter most of that time, while his coach did little by way of play-calling to help him.

Turtling

Typically the Bears offense has a lot of motion and formations to it; designed to create chunk gains by springing receivers open on all three levels. That does not work when you are not challenging down the field. Instead, Chicago seemed to take the what the Eagles gave them almost to a fault in the first half. A quick scoring drive gave them a 6-3 lead at halftime. They should have taken note. Trubisky was his usual erratic self, but he looked better when playing a faster, freer-flowing pace.

In the second half, it was more of the same, although Trubisky did play much better when let off the leash. It was troubling to see him struggle early and the play-calling not adjust sooner to get him into a rhythm. Perhaps even more disturbing is the Bears running backs only totaled 13 carries the entire game; two more than K.C. rushers in their Wild Card loss last year. Play-calling cost the Chiefs when Nagy was OC. It cost him again Sunday, this time with the Bears.

Cavalry? Not Quite

Their biggest improvements will come from within. When faced with someone who knew him well, Nagy blinked. Perhaps these last two playoff exits will compel him to come out firing and keep his foot on the gas for 60 minutes. His scheme works and his quartback showed he can thrive in it when given the opportunity. Another offseason in this offense bodes well for the young signal-caller. They cannot rest on their laurels. Both must be more consistent; Nagy with aggressiveness, Trubisky with accuracy.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson showed why the Bears paid him. Hopefully, he can be healthier next year. Same for tight end Trey Burton. Also, Taylor Gabriel is not a number two receiver. That may be Anthony Miller, but his fit in the slot seems ideal. Running back is interesting because the Bears were more explosive when Tarik Cohen was featured but struggled closing out games. When Jordan Howard was featured they struggled to put up points. Either keep both involved or find a three-down back.

Defending Defense

The defense faces the possibility of losing coordinator Vic Fangio. That would be a massive blow, but some of the names thrown out should he leave are promising. The personnel — namely linebacker Khalil Mack and lineman Akiem Hicks — will remain largely intact and safety Eddie Jackson will return from injury; his absence was felt Sunday. They need to add more pass rushers, as do most teams. Maybe Kylie Fitts steps up in his second year. It will also be a key year for former third-round pick Jonathan Bullard, who has two career sacks.

Too many second half let downs defensively needs to be resolved regardless of if Fangio stays or goes. For all the well deserved praise, there were several penalties by the defense that walked the Philadelphia Eagle down the field. Bryce Callahan’s absence went largely unnoticed until the final Eagles score. Having ten men in the field and giving up a touchdown in a playoff game is unacceptable. Sure Jackson would have helped, but the late game breakdowns hurt this team all season.

Not so special teams

Special teams has not been a strength for the Bears since Dave Toub left. Busted coverage and poor returns were overshadowed by the kicker’s affinity for goal posts. It will all need to be corrected if the Bears are to truly contend for a title. Punting was also hit or miss. Punter Pat O’Donnell doesn’t have the strongest leg, which can be problematic in Chicago. He does do a decent job of pinning opponents when drives still near midfield, but touchbacks are an issue. If not for Parkey, this is a bigger story.

Chicago will almost certainly waive the embattled kicker – who missed seven field goals and three PATs in 2018 – eating the remaining three years and north of three million dollars in the process. His contract makes the Mike Glennon deal seem smart. The Bears stuck with Parkey despite his career-worst season, but a return is unlikely. Even before Robbie Gould was cut the Bears have been dealing with kicking issues. Simply put, it has been an issue longer than it has mattered, but one that will be a priority this offseason.

Bright Future

Overall, the roster is young and should be stable for the next few years. Save for safety Adrian Amos, nickel corner Callahan, and defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris, the rest of the impending free agents are replaceable. Starting right tackle Bobby Massie is a candidate to return, but the position could also use an upgrade; perhaps through the draft.

The hope has to be that the offense takes a leap forward; closer to the echelon of the defense, alleviating that burden. There is a good chance this team is nowhere near as healthy next year, and the rest of the division should not be as injured. They have to get better. The offseason rhetoric is bound to promise improvement. The proof will have to wait until next season. This is of course after a season that ended heartbreak, but was better than anyone saw coming.